Ready Boost For XP – eBoostr

Two weeks ago I mentioned here that I was trying a new product called eBoostr that basically works similar as Ready Boost does for Vista. I originally stated that:

To begin with, the eBoostr software costs $29.00 and currently comes with 2 years of support and upgrades if ordered before December 31, 2007. In addition to the purchasing of software, you will also need a compatible USB 2.0 thumb drive. These usually can be found on sale from a variety of vendors and I’ve seen them for $15 or less for 2G’s. Using a theoretical cost of say $29 for the software and $20 for a flash drive, It would be under $50 to add a few G’s to your system without having to crack open the case.

I also received some reader comments concerning the software product:

Michael Plant stated:

Thanks Ron. I’m running XP with 2GB of RAM on an aging Centrino notebook. You’ve confirmed my suspicions about eBoostr – not likely outside of a low RAM situation. I’ll await your full comments next week (or so)!

Also another comment from Mike stating:

Eagerly awaiting Ron’s final report. In the interim, I’m running 1.1 on a Centrino notebook (1.4Ghz single core) with 2GB RAM and have two 4GB and a 1GB cache setup. I”m noticing a serious slowdown in my boot times, with or without the drives connected and have written to the developers about setting the service to manual and disabling the CP from starting with windows. No response yet.. For now, anyone else having problems? Mine occur after the deskopt appears – explorer.exe (I assume) freaks out for a while because the taskbar and system tray do not respond to mouse input and there is a good 4-5 minute pause before the system tray starts to populate. This is NOT normal. Event viewer doesn’t report anything out of the ordinary.

Eddweb said:

I’ve now been testing eboostr, im using a AMD 3700+ laptop with 2gb of ram. iv got a 4gb flash drive dedicated to the swop file. the main problem i had with the machine is its got a slow hdd, since installing iv noticed some of the programs that caused the bigist slowdowns (paintshop pro XI & Photoshop CS3 being the worst) have sped up a fare amount. after looking through the files cashed within the cash file (an option on the menu) it showed that it was now loading a lot of the small files from the flash drive. so far iv been impressed, but hope to see some improvments in the system such as removing the cash for temporary internet files. from what iv read and tryed flash is great for fast access of little files but a hdd will beet it for constant access, so a compmise between the 2 as this seems to be offering is good. all this being said u need a large pen drive to take advantage of this system, its not a substute for system memory – id still recommend system memory over this but once your down to the hdd slowing you down and u have a slow hdd give this a try. and i’ll only recomend using large pendrives, as large as possible

And Vion Sandor said:

Hi,
I’m also testing eboostr on a 512MB RAM XPpro. There seems to be a lack of documentation at this point, as well as clear directions regarding how to set up the flash drive. I’m getting some erratic random read speeds -when these are very low (>2000 KB/sec), it also seems to have generated a severely fragmented cache. My solution in that case was to reformat the drive and set it up again (is there any way to defragment in this situation?). Every time I do this I get a different read speed on the same device (SanDisk Cruser Micro -readyboost enhanced) Still don’t know which file system is best -the company recommends NTFS, but my personal tests were dismal with it -FAT32 seems to work better. They also recommend 1GB allocated space, but I think the ‘more is better’ idea makes better sense here?

One of the things that is mentioned on the eBoostr site is how the software may improve performance for those using a laptop system, which I used to perform my testing on. However, my system has 1G of RAM using Windows XP and I really didn’t notice much of a performance boost. This does not indicate that eBoostr didn’t work. But as mentioned in the comments, eBoostr may be used best on systems with either 256MB or 512MB of RAM, running programs such as Photoshop that tax the system.

Guess what? I have such a system. My wife’s laptop has 512MB and she also runs Photoshop at times. So I gave eBoostr a try on her system. I noted that there was a marked improvement using a 2G USB stick when running Photoshop. The system rendered changes to photo’s she was working with much quicker and there was less hard disk activity. In fact most of the time there was no hard disk activity. :-)

So what does this prove?

eBoostr does work on systems with low on board RAM using taxing programs such as Photoshop.

It also provides an easy way to increase performance without having to open the case. This is particularly attractive for laptop users.

So what is better? Using eBoostr or actually installing more physical RAM?

I’d personal recommend adding more physical RAM. But if cracking open the case, especially a laptop intimates you, than eBoostr is a definite alternative.

Comments welcome.

[tags]eboostr, software, ram, memory, laptop, alternative, performance, [/tags]

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • Michael Plant

    Thanks Ron! I’ve solved my boot problem (or at least alleviated it). I don’t know if it was eBoostr in conflict with something else or not, but I disabled some apps from starting with windows (Genie Backup Manager and Norton Commander Scheduler) and it’s brisker now, though still not as quick as without eBoostr installed.

    My setup now has two 4GB caches, one on a fast USB Thumbdrive and one on a USB Harddrive and it is definitely more responsive during high usage. I *should* figure out how to benchmark my system, but I actually prefer the seat of the pants measure anyway…! I figure that if I can sense it (or think that I can sense it -placebo effect?), it’s good enough for me. Still on the fence about whether or not I’ll buy eBoostr.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Hi Mike,
    Let us know what you decide.

  • Michael Plant

    Just an update (of sorts) – I debated buying a licence for eBoostr for a while but decided to go for it before the Christmas sale ended. I figured that for less than the cost of en evening out I’d be able to keep playing with it and get free updated/upgrades for two years. I’ve settled on the following configuations:
    At home – I have two 4GB caches on two different Flash drives and one 4GB cache on an external HD
    On the road – I use the two flash drives

    I’ve been using eBoostr for about a month now and am pleased with it on my XP Pro Sp-2 notebook, which is a first generation Centrino (ie early single core PM chip) with 2GB of 266mhz RAM. My system is more stable under highload and remains more responsive as I ramp things up. Boot times are not affected as far as I can tell, but I tend to put my computer into Standby and rarely reboot so it’s hard to gauge.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the update and information. It is appreciated.
    Regards, Ron

  • kwyap

    I do agree with Ron on getting more RAM if possible to speed things up. Infact, the RAM price is dirt cheap now a day.

    I have few celeron notebook ranging from 266 to 300 mhz, yes it does increase the performance of the notebook when accessing hardisk intensive application. But with so old notebooks I figure I won’t be using those applications to do work, cause now the bottleneck is the CPU (any CPU boosting software out here?) haha.

    I also have 2 newer notebook that runs on core 2 duo and amd athlon x2 with atleast 2 gb of ram. There are no difference with or without the software installed. But, there are lots of difference when these notebook are running Vista with readyboost enabled!

    My conclusion is get more RAM (as Ron suggested), i know i did with the older notebook. I have upgraded them to 2GB of RAM. What did I do with the old notebook RAM? I frame it up and put it on the wall.. well atleast its still there till my dog hide it somewhere.

    The usb drive is 4gb Apacer mini 2.0. Tried it on a 36GB pendrive, it refuse to format it.

    -kwyap

  • Michael Plant

    I don’t know how effective it is, but there is AutoPilotXP, which claims to optimize communitcation between your OS and CPU. It’s at http://www.kbs-software.com/.

  • http://www.readyboostmemory.com/ ReadyBoost USB

    You can find a list of eboostr compatible USB drives here: http://www.readyboostmemory.com/

  • Geoff Taylor

    Just wanted to let people know that I have just started using eboostr with a 2GB Micro Cruzer USB stick on my Dell Inspiron 1501 Laptop with 1GB of RAM. I quite often run a few heavy applications side-by-side, such as Visual Studio 2005, Dreamweaver and Fireworks. I can honestly say that switching between these applications has dramatically improved on this laptop with eboostr installed. I know it’s no substitute for having an extra 1GB RAM in my laptop, but for a quick fix to my memory problems, i must say that I am very impressed.

  • John

    Hi,

    I read about this software on another site and started to test it @work.
    My workstation is a 512Mb XP Pro desktop. Opening outlook, excel word and visual studio really cranks up my work machine.
    Despite my constant begging, the IT support department won’t give me a mem upgrade that soon, so I decided to test this software. I have admin privileges.
    I tested with a 2Gb cache on a 4Gb pen. This pen is relatively fast: about 16Mb/sec read USB 2.0.
    I can tell a difference in speed and wait times to windows on background to come to foreground and other processes too.

    My tip is: don’t use a slow pendrive and don’t use usb 1.1! Use at least 2Gb cache.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Hi John,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  • Hank G

    Hello Ron,

    I’m running eboostr on a HP dv8000 laptop, XP Media Center, 2 gb of ram, 1.8GHz AMD Turion and 2 local ide drives.

    I just downloaded the demo and noticed a huge performance gain. I did things a little different than other people who have commented. In XP, I disabled all page files on local disks. I have eboostr running on a 4gb ExpressCard SSD from Lexar. I confirmed that no pagefile.sys exists, yes I know it is hidden, on the system. I actually changed the attributes of the original pagefile.sys and the deleted them.

    Outlook, quicken and other frequently used programs in half the time and I also notice my sql queries, local database, are significantly faster. Also disk activity is significantly reduced.

    This is going to be a no-brainer purchase for me. And this evening, I’m going to give it a try on my home media center pc.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Hi Hank,
    Thanks for your comments and let us know how it works on you HMC system.

  • stuart e

    I installed this on my 512MB XP machine and the noticed following:
    – firefox startup much faster
    – this app fixed an issue where the send to menu took 10 seconds to open
    – user switching between logged on accounts went from 5-30 seconds to almost instant

    I have only allocated 900MB at the moment as I didn’t have much spare space on my Dick Smith USB drive but I was so impressed i bought it.

  • Hank G

    Just wanted to post back on running eboostr under my Media Center HTPC

    There was some performance improvement noticed over time as the cache built up. But the biggest improvement was in the “my music” and “my movies” catalog display. I have over 600 albums/CD’s ripped in my music and about 50 DVD’s in my movies.

    The cover display, before eboostr, took forever and just thrashed the heck out of the disk. After eboostr all this data was cached and displayed much faster and also much quieter. Scrolling and searching was greatly improved.

    Well worth it.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Hello Hank G.,
    Thanks for getting back to us. The info. is appreciated.

    Regards, Ron

  • http://www.coresharp.net nantcom

    I didn’t try this program since i’m running vista. But will try it for my eeePC (once i got one :) I’m quite sure that it will benefit most if your flash drive is “really fast”

    If you have lots of small files in your hdd – try copying them to your flash drive and see what it’s look like. I have got two 512MB (apacer) and one 2GB (pqi => very cheap) flash drive. both 512MB can write the small files at respectable speed – however, it takes forever to write those small files (speed is <64KB/s!!! according to Vista) to 2GB drive while I can copy 700MB DivX file to it at 11MB/s!

    i think this is the reason that some of us has negative performance impact…eboostr might be writing lots of small files or many small pieces of data to it – so you get the worst speed of your flash drive.

    Maybe you have to buy the one with Vista ReadyBoost certified – ReadyBoost certification also demandis that the drive must be able to handle 4KB piece of data at high speed.

    …but that might costs you more than buying more RAM…..So, use eboostr if and only if you already had a “really” fast flash drive around :)

  • http://www.hddstudio.net/ DimeDeviL

    Hi Guys

    I have tried this software and yes I did notice a huge performance increase on my Venice 3000+ with 1 GB RAM. I just want to ask

    How to empty the cache? looks like that my Cache drive is full and I want to start from the beginning, but when I rebuild the cache file, the bar showed that the overall cache still there

    I got a laptop that use free version of eBooster, and I always reboot after 4 hours. Is the free version have full functionality?

    Where could I find the manual? as the Help file isnt helpful :D

    thank you :)

  • JC WILCOX

    to: HANK G and EVERYBODY
    I have read in MSDN’s blog (microsoft) and in Tom Archer’s blog that is REALLY NOT A GOOD OPTION disable the “pagefile swap” or WORST MOVE IT to the flash drive. I’m not a PRO but I will explain what I understand so far (any correction or improve it is well received) First ’cause READYBOOST and eboostr from Rusian MOD, it not a “pagefile” substitution (replacement). They work as a “CACHE” so they are faster for little file random write/read, but in other cases there are also Large files that are also wrote to the pagefile and that ones are QUITE FASTER read/write by the HDD (even if the HDD is a 4200rpm), So because of that in Windows Vista ReadyBoost the OS know this and make the “right choose” of where to write. Also the Microsoft developer of ReadyBoost said this is QUITE COMPLEMENTARY with SuperFlesh ( OS learning which program you use more frequently and need faster access depend of the type of task it made, it not just the frequently program you use. hope you understand). At last they said ReadyBoost it was made THINKING OF NOT THE TOP LINE of computer (high bus way CPU, Big RAM, etc). So in most cases it’s the same to upgrade RAM if it is possible (obviously have to compare the cost in each case). In the case money it’s not a matter, you can use both HIGHEND computer and READYBOOST, but it will be really a narrow specify boost to your Windows Vista, but if you have the money buy a 35mb/sec read/write Flash drive and use it 2-3GB for READYBOOST. I’m just guessing but also eboostr it’s not really to boost the boot up time either (that is more related with SOFT SOLID DISK “SSD” but that it’s other topic and you need U$400.00 dollar for 32-64GB SSD). Don’t FORGET that of course it will be best notice the boost when using HIGH RESOURCES DEMANDING PROGRAM (HIGH PROCESS SIZES) like: Mathematics calculation, photoshop CS3, database analysis, etc, etc, etc.
    So in resume KEEP YOUR “pagefile swap” over 896MB, Defrag IT, and try some software as “PerfectDIsk 2008″ to keep it defrag it and in the first part of the HDD (it do it everytime you start windowsXP if you don’t mind to wait to start your windows) and use CCLEANER to wipe and tune up your windows registry.
    (sorry for my English grammar mistakes, I’m from CHILE)

    Best Regards
    JC WILCOX
    (latinamerican Psychologist of computer)
    “Even PC get crazy sometimes”

  • Jonathan Golan

    Contrary to what they promised, there is already a new upgrade, eboostr 2.0, which is NOT free. You have to pay more money for it.

  • http://www.efxi.net MJ

    I’m just starting to test out eBoostr on my Dell 400SC 3.2GHz, 2GB RAM, 74 GB WD Raptor 10KRPM and am impressed so far. I am actually going to use 2 1GB Lexar Lightning USB Drives and a small segment (256-512MB) of physical RAM for the cache. I’ve found that my hard drive activity has gone way down and I would think that would be a huge plus for laptop users. Less wear and tear. Everything during normal usage seems a bit snappier and smoother. Outlook performs a lot better and some of the delays that were starting to push me towards buying a new computer are now instantaneous.

    If you have a lot of RAM use a portion of it for the eBoostr cache. I’d also recommend using a FAST USB drive over a huge one. Some are slow as hell and would probably slow down your computer when using them to cache.

  • http://www.krisjohn.net Krisjohn

    I gave eBoostr a try at home, but on both the PCs I tested it on I got application crashes (including explorer.exe) and other assorted corruption. It doesn’t look like there’s any lasting damage, but it’s not something I’ll be hurrying to test again.

    Which is a shame, because it looks like such a promising idea.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Hello Krisjohn,
    I am sorry to hear it didn’t work for you. May I recommend you try a different thumb drive and see if that helps.

  • Jim Duguay

    I have a lot of RAM. How do I assign a portion of it for the eBoostr cache?

  • Erik

    Having tested eboostr on 2gb ram 1.86 ghz win xp sp 3 machine together with Sandisk Cruzer Contour 8GB (4 allocated cache) the results are:
    – Halves boot times for most apps, on the 2nd time you launch them after a restart.
    – Crashes my reliable machine after hibernation
    – Will not allow stand-by mode – closes down or crashes

    Anybody w. bright ideas is welcome, otherwise I will have to give up on this. A working machine is faster than a crashing one.

  • David

    I noticed some improvement on my dell 1501 laptop with 1 gb of RAM. Some applications load faster with this Eboostr but this Xp ready boost does not make the significant in reduction of window boosting time.

    Overall i quite satisfy with this piece of software but i would recommend for the ultra fast USB drive for best performance of eboostr.

  • Ivan

    I would like to know how well eboostr works systems that stay on for longer periods of time; What would happen to the memory stick with such a work load? Is there a recommended brand of memory sticks for heavy duty performance? Well, I’m currently running the demo version of the program and I would not mind buying the software, provided it proves to be stable enough to let my system running for, say, 72 hours in a row not fearing it will crash because of the software… or the memory stick!

  • Gary Sr.

    I tried the eboostr on an HP with 2MB RAM and did not see any discernible improvement in performance.

    I then ran the PassMark Performance test with eboostr on and scored a 366. I then removed eboostr and re-ran the test. The machine scored a 389 indicating a 7 percent decline in performance when using eboostr.

    By any standard this is “wishful thinkingware”.

  • mtasquared

    I think the benefit of this program is in reducing random access times, not replacing RAM.

    I saw loading times for Word drop from 5 to 4 seconds, and Adobe Photoshop Album drop from 20 to 5 seconds.

    It makes a really big difference on my older machine (Athlon 64 3200, 1 gb ram)

  • http://www.icallpc911.com charles

    Does anyone know, if they have for Linux Ubuntu too.

  • kush

    i have just installed the eBoostr demo on my pc with 256mb RAM and XP pro sp3.
    The performance change is significant with transcend jetflash V10 4GB.
    I would like to know if using eBoostr will degrade the performance of my flash drive .

  • zi

    Interesting program, I just tested it on a XP machine using a 2gb lexar lightning usb drive. The problem is that when I enter hibernation, the system freezes and just sits there. With the usb stick removed and eBoostr disabled, hibernation works great. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this or have any ideas?

    Im also wondering if anyone has noticed a faster resume from hibernation with eBoostr?

  • TimFF

    I’ll talk about my testing (seat of the pants benchmarking, the best) but first I have one criticism. What is the point of using RAM cache in eboostr? Both Vista and XP do a very good job of using spare ram as system cache (open taskmanger and see what it does). Vista is significantly better at doing this than XP or even Linux from what I can tell, and combined with the very good superfetch it will use all of your spare ram for system cache (i’ve tested at 8gb, yep it keeps filling it up!) – where XP is cautious and leaves alot of available ram doing nothing while it’s not being used by an app. IMHO, I would rather an OS makes use of resources to speed things up than otherwise! In XP you could force it to use large cache, to noticeable effect. But load your Vista machine up with extra ram and you will see an impressive speed up.

    I’m currently testing three (yes 3!) Toshiba ReadyBoost 2gb drives on both XP and Vista as cache with the Beta of 3.0. I noticed 2gb of cache on a single thumb drive speeded up any small writes, folder views and other usually laggy tasks (web browsing is a little snappier!) but did nothing for sequential streams of data (it did NOTHING for file large file copies and video manipulation, slowed it down a little even!). I now have 6gb across three flash drives, and can’t tell if this is advantagous, but by the seat of my pants, HDD activity has gone way down and performance genearlly a little snappier. I do presume that eboostr does intellegently stripe data across the drives (like the linux kernel will stripe accross swap partitions) although I see no evidence of that. Main drives are 2x seagate 500gb 7200.11 NCQ drives, Vista SP1 on one, XP SP3 on the other, both have pagefiles halved accross both drives (another good performance boost – Vista and to a lesser extent XP will utilise bandwidth of both for performance. I don’t like RAID so this suits me). Vista’s readyboost does speed up boot/hibernate and shutdown – which Eboost seems to mess with rather than speed up! (damn!) – Readyboost did something even with 4 and 8gb ram on my Vista SP1/Server2008 machines whereas eboostr does less. Eboostr has fleixbility though – if it was just more reliable I could see it being a benefit on servers (IF it can stand up to the load). Interestingly, if you have a second hard disk you can use that as cache also – prior to my 3x drive experiment I tried this, subjectively it is a small boost in performance, much like a raid array (without the pain!) there is potential there. I had set eboostr to use 8gb of my second sata drive on my second sata controller. I do believe this is improving things a little, hard to say.
    Anyway with this app there may be a niche application – installing a LARGE cache (16 or 32gb) on a SSD drive, alongside an existing windows workstation or server – to get the kind of speed up you’d only see with a fast RAID array. I do video editing so this could be a potential interesting application of this software. I may get to test it soon. But I doubt this application will withstand the standards required of actual enterprise reliablity and load testing! My verdict: For most people this app wouldn’t be worth the money. However for some it may be worth it. Try the trial, use good flash drives, or additional hard drives. If it doesn’t work for you DON’T buy. But this product does have potential. It is a crying shame this isn’t freeware (a basic limited version at least) and a travesty it’s not open source!

  • joe mulrennan

    Hey ron, i know this review is very old but it just helped me make up my mind bout getting eboost, my laptop has 256mb ram and is as solw as x-mas, i tryed freeing up real memory by gettin an external (i dont know much bout cpu’s) but that didn’t work, yersterday i tryed instaling photoshop (as i need it for college) and it told me i needed 1gb of ram, thought i’d have to get a new laptop, ahh! im a student!! but its looking like i’ll be saving a but of cash now with eboost, few question thou… what is a FAT32 or NTFS?? will a normal usb memory sick work? and looked at the site and couldn’t see where you order the amount of gb you want??
    any help would be cool,
    thanks

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Thanks for the comments everyone. FAT 32 & NTFS are types file systems. Read this for more info:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/expert/russel_october01.mspx

  • Buaya-kun

    From the experience I had with eBoostr, the best performance I got was to do some trick:
    1. Format the flash disk in NTFS format. This will speed up initialization drasticly
    2. Set the flash disk to “Optimize for performance” via device manager>[your flash disk device]>properties>policies tab, this will enable write caching on the flash disk
    3. exclude all multimedia files (mp3, avi, mkv and so on) because those files will garbage your cache
    Test yourself :)

  • R Gilbert II

    I was under the impression, by the site that the program was loaded, that it would operate under windows 2000. I am not sure if it is the case. I came to believe that the program ended up just gathering and dropping items in allocated areas. This, to me, isn’t exactly an efficient process, though I am not a master programmer. And have come to believe that it may have possibly hindered my Firefox capabilities. My machine is now unable to receive video info in any formats induced by MSN, YAHOO, HISTORY, HULU, ETC.. Are there any other reports of this type of faulting?, and what may I do? I would like to know. I reloaded Firefox, to no avail. I loaded internet Explorer and am able to receive video. But Internet Explorer reacts slower than Firefox. This is not good. It is most possibly a good thing that that one program and the associations within the framework were the only possible incurred disruptions, though I believe that the disruption of graphics may have been incurred as well.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    R Gilbert II,
    You can try uninstalling Firefox, deleting your profile, and reinstall Firefox. Use the FEBE add-on before to save all of your bookmarks & stuff.

    http://support.mozilla.com/en-us/kb/Profiles

  • Brian

    Yeah, I installed Eboostr on a number of systems, a few it sped up with noticeable improvements, but on one or two of them I kept getting explorer and rundll32 crashes over and over.

    Uninstalled the software and my computer was back to normal. I wish Eboostr would do more testing to make sure their product worked on more machines. Very disappointed.

  • http:///www.msilaptops.net msi laptop

    MSI laptops appear pretty decent, but I’m not too fond of the low res screens. I dont mind on a smaller format, but when you’re at 15″ or higher, I don’t think XGA and WXGA are the way to go.